Lest We Forget: Amazing Race Canada in France

Hey folks, back again with Amazing Race Canada, Episode 7. Lots of media on this race, showing teams in France, Normandy specifically, honouring those who served and sacrifice during the Second World War. As an army brat, this has special sentiment for me. My dad spent 28 years in the Armed Forces and many of the guys I grew up with also served, few still in. Same for a few of my relatives. While my dad didn’t fight in any wars, he did his bit. And many of those friends I grew up with did serve in combat zones, in Afghanistan and in Bosnia. So while I appreciate the race honouring those were fought in Normandy, I like to remember everywhere Canadians served, from WW1, WW2, Korea, Bosnia and Afghanistan. And don’t forget all those peacekeeping missions Canadians were known for. Heck, we invented that term.

Onto the race, team leave Winnipeg, the Forget Twins first, and are told to head to France. Some great and heart-tugging scenes at Normandy. Good work by the producers and nice job, Jon. I was on your case last year because of your lack of TV experience but you’re really growing into this job. As Alain and Audrey leave, they think it’s time to get close to the Twins. The rest of the teams leave, screaming, and the Twins aren’t buying the friendly bit. They play along, but they aren’t buying it. All teams are on the same flight and must drive to find the Bolard Calvados distillery.

Pierre-in-barrel-room-at-Calvados-Boulard-taking-a-sampleTeams rush and drive through Paris, some teams getting lost and the first team to arrive at the distillery is the Olympians. Roadblock: dilute the Apple Brandy. They must get a barrel number, go to the fermenting room, distract the pure stuff from the barrel (don’t drink it Gord), and then watching a demo and using math, dilute to exactly 40%. Either Gord and I could do this cause his wife is a math teacher and I’m pretty good at math. It would take time and patience but we’ve got that.

Meahgan is on it, finds her barrel and starts discussing the plan. The Twins are second, one of them is on it (Still can’t tell) while Blind Eye Petey also jumps in, followed by Jinder. Meaghan’s first attempts fail and must start at the beginning. And then Sukhi asks the question we’ve been asking all season: ‘Is this one Pierre or Michel?” Mickey’s facial reaction is classic. He didn’t have to speak a word; his face said volumes. I had to rewind that cause it was fun to watch. And we don’t get any help from the producers as Pierre or Michel talks about managing the wastewater at their meat packing plant.

Meaghan-learns-the-science-of-Calvados-with-President-of-Calvados-Boulard-Marianna-SalouxAnother few fails for Meaghan and Pete, and Rob and Ryan are lost. No words from Rob but Alain and Audrey arrive. She’s on it and we find out that Jinder has a degree on organic chem and Molecular bio so he should get it. At least that’s what my wife says cause she’s got a BSc. But fail on his first attempt. Looks like a tough task but nope, Pierre (that’s who it was!) gets it on the first try. That’s gotta hurt the other teams. Next clue is find the village (picturesque no less) of Le Molay-Littry and find the public square. Off go the Twins, giving a sarcastic bow to the other teams as they do. Nasty. Ryan and Rob are still lost and Rob hasn’t changed his expression so far this leg. ‘On their way to Spain’ says one of the Twins. Nope, there they are, pulling in. Just as Jinder gets it, screaming so loud Audrey has to cover her ears.

The Twins arrive at the picturesque village (which could describe most villages in France) and it’s a Detour. Tell It or Show It. Hey, classic novel writing technique! In Show It (which is how you should write a novel), teams must find a Percheron farm, located on the bucolic plains (lots of adjectives in this leg). They must pick a horse, tie it up, clean and brush it and then give it a complex braid of its mane. Aiieee. Nope not doing that.

In Tell It (which is how you shouldn’t write a novel), go to the town of Bayeux, find the famous tapestry which tells the story of the William the Conqueror. They must read a series of plaques describing his story then put in order a bunch of copies taken from the story. That’s the one I’d take cause I’m not much in the way of braiding. The Twins take Show It cause they had horses growing up.

Judge-and-clue-presenter-Didier-LalondeBack at the distillery, teams are struggling but then Meaghan learns of her mistake and finally gets it on the sixth try. Sukhi and Jinder take Show. The Twins start working on their French horse and for some reason talk to it in English rather than French. Audrey gets her Roadblock on the first try. She did take her time but better to do it slow and get it right than fast and fail. Sukhi and Jinder are lost, switch drivers over and over and start yelling.

The Olympians take Tell, Alain and Audrey take Show. Pete fails over and over, Ryan figures out the situation and Rob raises his hands in victory. Says nothing, doesn’t change his expression but raises his hands in victory. At least that’s something. But that’s not the important bit. Instead of leaving the Dudes to suffer and fail, Ryan offers help, giving Pete the required hint to get it right. Using Ryan’s advice, Pete gets it done. The Olympians do it smart, but taking on the easy ones first and then moving to the difficult ones. Classic exam writing. They are close, only one off. The Twins discuss switching will they or won’t they. Stay tuned after the commercial break.

The Twins Switched Task! Oh the drama! The Olympians also switch tapestry bits back and forth so much that they forget which one they took off. So they just do the same ones again and fail. But quickly realize their mistake and are done. Off to the beaches of Asnelles where they will ride (drive) sand boats? Car? What the heck are those things called? But wow, that looks fun. At the Back of the pack, the Dudes arrive at the clue box right before Ryan and Rob. See, never help another team if you are the last two teams left. See what happens. Sigh. Both teams choose Show Me. Good thing Alain has Audrey because she can braid. Just as Sukhi and Jinder arrive. Obviously with the long hair she had, Sukhi has braided before while Jinder gets chewed on by the horse. Never show fear, Jinder, animals can smell it on you. Or in this case, taste it.

The Twins are at the tapestry believing they are Team #1. Mickey talks about his cosmetology in high school so he can braid as well. Amazing the things in your life that can help in the race. The Twins get Tell It done very fast, showing that this was the better (read easier) of the two tasks. Since Gord and I work on graphic novels together, we would have been done this an instant. Soon, all the teams are done braiding while Ryan and Rob are lost, feeling frustrated and lost but looking the same as they did when they weren’t frustrated or lost. Are the editors doing this on purpose, making Rob the strong, silent type? Has he been talking non-stop all race like Jinder, but they’ve cut all those bits out just to put forward that image. If so, then stop, it’s not good TV.

Natalie-and-Meaghan-beach-sailingThe Olympians arrive at the beach and jump on. It looks awesome with a few crashes. Good to see the girls having fun; they know they are in first so it’s good to have fun. Once done they are told drive to the Canadian War Cemetery. They leave just as the Twins arrive. The boys are pissed off for being in second. Ryan and Rob find the horse and Rob says he braided his sister’s hair when they were younger. See! That’s the kind of thing we want, some personal touches from Rob. Let him speak!

Twins race and off they go. Alain and Audrey are lost, despite getting directions in French. The Siblings and the Dudes arrive and sail. They are having fun. I would love to do this kind of thing. Both teams done and out. Same for Ryan and Rob. Race to the cemetery.

JM-at-Beny-sur-Mer-Canadian-War-CemetaryNow its the serious bit. Time to pay your respects, not just the racers, but all of us. There is a reason why we use the term Lest We Forget. After tears from all teams, and I’ll admit me, teams must deliver a poppy to the soldier in front of the Juno Beach Centre. Despite the tears for the fallen, I don’t think there will be any tears because of the race. I’m betting on non-elim leg this time. Not a good place for it. You can’t have teams racing to get through the cemetery. In the end, it’s the Olympians back in first, the mat right on Juno Beach with a D-Day veteran to great them. Wow, that’s fantastic.

The girls win a trip to anywhere in Europe plus $3K. Twins are in second. Alain and Audrey race the beach and she crashes. Unlike the others, she hates it. See, a fun task is different when you’re bringing up the rear. It’s only fun when you finish.More talking about being lost from Ryan and Rob.

Juno-Beach-CentreThe Dudes look at the headstones and it hits them that many of the fallen Canadians were younger or about the same age as them. It hits Sukhi and Jinder as well, how could it not? I’d be a mess. Good to see the teams not racing each other to the finish at this point. But Mickey and Pete are third. Sukhi and Jinder 4th. Alain and Audrey are fifth, Ryan and Rob, last, I mean lost. And the sun sets as they come to the beach. And you know it’s non-elim when Jon asks them a question before eliminating them. They are still in the race. Good to see Rob smile. But it’s a short one. And while they got lost, they did make a mistake of helping Mickey and Pete. Because of that help, those Dudes finished the task and got in third. Not that it made much difference but you still can’t do that in the race. Speed Bump for Ryan and Rob which will slow them down.

JM-and-Jim-Parks-2Nice episode, mostly touching about the war than about the race. Next week, over to Paris and looks like there’s a bit of drama between the Francophone teams.

Please note, this blog post, along with more posts, video recaps, team interviews and other great stuff, is also posted at Amazing Race Canada with Gord and Wayne.

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